WASHINGTON – Senator Ted Cruz is fueling vaccine skepticism, accusing Pfizer and U.S. officials of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine without testing whether it will curb transmission of the coronavirus. increase.
“They had no scientific basis, no data,” Cruz said, referring to vaccine recommendations from federal officials and orders to the military, federal workers, and contractors. “It was politics. It wasn’t science. It wasn’t medicine.”
What Cruz didn’t mention is that regulators didn’t demand evidence that vaccines slowed transmission of COVID-19.
Rather, regulators wanted to know if vaccinated people were less likely to develop severe disease or contract symptomatic infections. By the time the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine, it was overwhelming.
Dr. Peter Hotes, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said:
“It’s called ‘weaponized health communications.’
In a recent episode of his three-weekly podcast, Cruz referred to Pfizer’s International Developed Markets President Janine Small’s October 10 testimony at the hearings of the European Parliament in Germany. and commented.
Conservatives and anti-vaccine advocates on both sides of the Atlantic are using this testimony to raise skepticism about vaccines and attack rivals who pushed for mandates. This claim has been widely denied.
A paper published this month by Hotez claims that up to 40,000 of the 90,000 COVID deaths in Texas were preventable. This is after vaccination became universally available in May 2021. Most of those who died were unvaccinated.
Many of them have succumbed to anti-vaccine misinformation like the one Cruz is spreading, Hotes claimed.
“The Biden administration, knowing that Pfizer never tested for contagion, or that they didn’t care to check, imposed a duty. It’s what it claims to be,” spokesman Darrin Miller said.
He cited the example of Dr. Anthony Fauci advocating vaccination in May 2021 on the rationale that “people who get vaccinated are dead ends with coronavirus.” That was just weeks after the CDC acknowledged a “breakthrough” case that hit vaccinated people.
That June, a Delta variant emerged, blunting the effectiveness of the vaccine. A more contagious variant, Omicron, was designated last November.
A few weeks later, as Cruz’s office noted, President Joe Biden urged vaccination “so as not to spread the disease to anyone else.”
Republicans called it misinformation. Epidemiologists told fact-checkers at the time that the rationale for vaccination remains strong. Vaccines have been shown to dramatically reduce serious illness. Getting vaccinated spreads COVID-19. It’s not accurate to say that you can’t do anything.
European Parliament hearings focused on buying 200 million doses of the vaccine before regulatory approval.
“Was Pfizer’s COVID vaccine tested to stop the transmission of the virus before it hit the market?” asked Rob Roos, a conservative Dutch member of the European Parliament.
“No,” Small replied, adding, “We really had to move at the speed of science.”
Roos quickly expanded the Q&A on social media, leading Pfizer to admit that there was “no evidence that a vaccine would stop the spread of the virus. But the introduction of COVID mandates was based on this very lie.” We demand accountability.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson covered Roos two nights later.
Calling Fauci a “sinister clown” and alleging that Pfizer executives committed unspecified crimes, Carlson characterized the reasons behind US public health officials’ vaccine recommendations as follows: .
Cruise’s podcast comments echo that line of discussion.
“A senior Pfizer executive in Europe testified and said the vaccine had never been tested to prevent transmission of COVID,” Cruz said, pushing for vaccination despite lack of supporting evidence. He accused Fauci and other “abusive bureaucrats” and “tyrannical monarchs.” .
Pfizer, which reached out to Cruz’s comments on Monday, noted that in November 2020, a Phase 3 clinical trial published just before FDA approval “met two key endpoints.” The BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) trial was not designed to assess vaccine efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 infection. ”
“Since regulatory approval, the vaccine has helped protect billions of people from COVID-19,” the company said.
Cruise has been against mandatory vaccines throughout the pandemic.
“They’re illegal. They’re abusive. They’re wrong,” he said on the podcast. “They repeatedly told us, ‘Vaccine it and it stops contagion.’ It’s an interesting theory. You can see how true it is. It seems kind of relevant that he said he didn’t even evaluate whether the vaccine stopped the virus from being transmitted.
The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer Vaccines on December 11, 2020. On August 23, 2021, Pfizer Vaccines became the first fully licensed vaccine.
If emergency use authorizations are postponed until contagion investigations, Hotez said: Remember, during alpha waves, we were losing 2,000 to 3,000 Americans a day. ”
Initial trials of 40,000 people were not sufficient to assess impact on infection. It could take years to determine that, and that’s only after vaccines are widely used.
Still, the signs were quick.
By early 2021, Israeli researchers showed that vaccination had stopped symptomatic disease and reduced asymptomatic disease.
“The vaccine was approved under the criteria of Operation Warp Speed,” Hotez said, referring to the Trump administration’s Crash program. There was a lot of excitement about conservation.”